(EnergyAsia, November 22 2011, Tuesday) — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) said it and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) have agreed to increase cooperation on projects to build capacity and promote public private partnerships across the Caucasus and Central Asia.

Last week, ADB President Haruhiko Kuroda and EBRD President Thomas Mirow signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) in London to strengthen their organisations’ cooperation in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Mongolia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

The ADB and EBRD are partners in the Central Asian Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) programme, which later this week celebrates its 10th Anniversary with a Ministerial Conference in Baku, Azerbaijan.

Mr Kuroda said: “This framework for cooperation in countries we both serve is good for our clients and our two institutions. The framework will encourage us to continue to work closely together, as we have been doing in the recent past, both with the private and public sectors.”

Mr Mirow said: “Both our institutions are strongly committed to helping unlock the region’s vast economic potential by supporting market-oriented, private sector development, boosting public-private partnerships and building the road, rail and energy networks necessary to facilitate growth in trade and commerce.”

Over the past decade, the programme has developed some US$17 billion in energy networks and transport corridors connecting its member countries to one another and to the booming markets of East and South Asia, Europe, and the Russian Federation.

Examples of CAREC in action include Afghanistan’s new rail link connecting the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif with Uzbekistan and a range of free trade and customs harmonisation agreements speeding trade and reducing bottlenecks across the region.

ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members — 48 from the region.

In 2010, ADB said its approvals including co-financing totalled US$17.51 billion while its ongoing trade finance programme supported $2.8 billion in trade.

Founded in 1991, the London-headquartered EBRD has become the largest financial investor in the region stretching from central Europe and the Western Balkans to Central Asia. Owned by 61 countries and two intergovernmental organisations, it it helps countries in the region to become democratic, market economies.